Months after violence and tension erupted in the north West Bengal hills in connection with the Gorkhland movement, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday asked the political outfits in Darjeeling to maintain peace and ensure that violence does not return to the region.
“Please give us peace, we will give you prosperity. That is our commitment, that is our assurance,” Banerjee said here after inaugurating the first-ever “Hill Business Summit”, nearly six months after the longest-ever shutdown in the Darjeeling hills was withdrawn.
“Please see that Darjeeling is clean and green. Please ensure that there isn’t any violence. If there is violence, some political leaders might gain, but the people of Darjeeling won’t gain from it. The young generation would become more and more impatient,” she said.
The Chief Minister also announced that her government would provide Rs 100 crore for promotional development of job-oriented industries in the region.
“Let’s first make a start. Our government is fully ready to help you. I can also assure you on behalf of the industrialists that they will give you full cooperation,” she said.
Banerjee said special focus would be given to agriculture, horticulture industries, food processing zones, nurturing of orchids and developing IT infrastructure in the region.
She also requested the industrialists present at the meeting as well as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to prepare an action plan specially for Darjeeling where people are suffering from acute water problems.
“I think the youth of Darjeeling are skilled. They have a lot of potential. They can be used in different industrial sectors. Two IT parks would be set up in Kalimpong and Darjeeling. It can be done in Kurseong and Mirik, too. IT has a lot of scope here,” she said.
Noting that people from around the world want to come to Darjeeling because of its beauty, Banerjee said there is enough scope for the tourism and transport industry to thrive there.
“Let’s compete on the basis of development. I want the people of Darjeeling to be well,” she added.
Thanking Banerjee for organising the business summit, hill outfit Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leader and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) chief Binay Tamang vowed to make the Darjeeling hills a “strike-free zone” and said there would not be any political disturbances in the region.
“I, along with the people of Darjeeling, would like to give our commitment that Darjeeling and Kalimpong would be a strike-free zone and there would not be any political disturbances in the hills anymore, as we have suffered a lot,” Tamang, who was appointed by Banerjee in the GTA Board of Administrators, said in a release.
He also thanked the Bengal government for its “helping hand” in the form of Rs 100 crore aid and hoped the fund would help the hills build a brand around the world.
Echoing Banerjee, Tamang said the hills have a great potential in the field of IT, as there are a large number of young and educated population who are still unemployed.